This Wednesday the United States defeated Jamaica 2-1 in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup final with a late goal by Seattle Sounders Striker Jordan Morris.
While the MLS player led the United States to glory, there were some Liga MX players on Bruce Arena’s roster, including Club Tijuana’s own Paul Arriola and Joe Corona.
Unfortunately, Corona stayed on the bench for the entire 90 minutes of the final, but Arriola did play for 76 minutes of the game and proved to be a dangerous man in the attack.
Both the San Diego natives did have playing time throughout the competition and made effective use of it.
Paul Arriola played in five games, four as a starter, but did not score any goals or have any assists. The 22-year-old was still a vital piece to the American side as he was up and down the pitch and was critical to the build-up play within the team. Arriola is an engine that will frustrate the opposition and he showcased that aspect of his playing style throughout the competition.
Joe Corona played in just two games, but did manage to score a goal in the United States’ 3-0 win against Nicaragua in the final game of group stage play.
The Xolos’ midfielder was very effective with his scoring opportunities as he had just two shots and one goal resulting from those shots. While the United States national team is celebrating, Arriola and Corona must now go back to work with Club Tijuana and should be a tremendous help to the Aztec Canines, who are coming off a 2-0 defeat against Cruz Azul.
The Xolos lacked creativity in their season opener against the Mexico City team and will now face Necaxa away from home in the second round of Apertura 2017 play.
While the American duo is unlikely to feature in the starting 11, both Arriola and Corona can be very helpful in creating opportunities in the attack. The midfield specifically was lacking a midfielder like Joe Corona, who is amazing at linking up plays and generating build-up play.
Mauricio Cuero struggled in the right-midfield slot against Cruz Azul, which is the position that Paul Arriola excelled in throughout the 2017 Gold Cup with the USA. Eduardo Coudet and the Xolos’ faithful will be excited for the return of the Americans, and the pair should help improve certain areas that lacked in that season opener against Cruz Azul.